Your Role as an Educator
The children in your care will be spending a significant amount of time with you. You will want this time to go as smoothly as possible for all of your students so that optimum learning can occur.
The following are some helpful instructional strategies for those on the autism spectrum that you can incorporate into your classroom.
Communicating with Students:
Keep Language Simple
Giving students direct, clear instructions can be helpful, as they can struggle with sequence. Try and keep directions short, ideally no longer than 2 or 3 steps.
Give Them Time
Children with autism may need more time to process and respond to what you are saying. Slow down and give them as much time as they need to complete tasks.
Provide a Predictable Environment
Environments that are non-surprising, safe, structured, and tailored to their needs will help children on the autistic spectrum experience the most success. If environments are not consistent, but are chaotic and unpredictable it can have negative effects that take the form of outbursts and meltdowns. Educators need to be on point when it comes to classroom management and organization to keep things running well for everyone.
Children with autism need a clear idea of what is expected of them. Don’t hesitate to take plenty of time, making sure that the student knows what they are needing to do. Make sure that your expectations are appropriate for the student. Expectations for students on the autistic spectrum will more than likely be different than expectations for other students in your classroom.
Punishment or threat of punishment can make situations worse. Instead, try using positive reinforcement to achieve desired behavior. Be sure that your praise is immediate, specific and frequent. Using positive reinforcement can help those with ASD learn new skills and increase appropriate actions. Reinforcement is effective when it is tailored to the specific individual.